Lastminute builds sales with blogging ‘agents’

LASTMINUTE.COM has revealed plans to build an extensive, Europe-wide network of bloggers with affiliate-style links to its own website.

The agency wants to create thousands of “mini travel agents” who will act as information points for online shoppers and contain direct links into the Lastminute website via RSS feeds.

It intends to offer personal blog sites – whether to Lastminute subscribers or not – which the agency hopes will become virtual scrapbooks containing personal reviews, comments, photographs and even video footage of holidays and destinations.

Corporate strategy manager Fraser Robinson said the initial aim is to create a blogging community with holidaymakers using the sites to research and share holiday experiences.

He said people are increasingly turning to fellow customers for informed, independent opinions before booking online.

“People are looking at what other customers say about the hotel and not the official rating or description,” he told Travolution. “If we can create a community where people who want to go to Rome, for example, get their information from our bloggers, who are passionate about the city, then we will have a powerful tool.”

The scheme will have its own brand – likely to be called Lastminuteliving.com – with each blogger having their own URL.

Once established, Lastminute will offer RSS feeds that are relevant to the material featured on individual sites.

“It will be an affiliate-style scheme in that we will incentivise bloggers but this is not geared around a commercial agreement,” said Robinson. “The principal aim is to share information and create a community.”

Commission is expected to be around 2% on any converted sales. Robinson predicted around 50,000 people will become Lastminute bloggers within nine to 12 months. He added bloggers broadly fit the Lastminute demographic.

“They are fun and usually have something to say.”

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